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New powerful antibiotics discovered using machine learning
Bacteria are amazing creatures. They adapt rapidly to any stress that is put on them or at least some...
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Top Publishers Sued over Collusion in Textbook Market
Textbook prices are out of control and this is why I spent years of my life writing and running this...
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Americans are fatter than ever and processed food is to blame
Before diving into this article we need to clarify how being obese is measured. There are many ways to...
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Through the Microscope updates
An important feature of Through the Microscope is the animations that depict important processes. Often...
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Obesity and the Microbiome
A large body of evidence is emerging showing that the microbiome has a role in obesity and I cover some...
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The biofilm matrix

  In the microbial world, cooperation between multiple species is a novel way to combat the pressures of nutrient limitation, chemical damage, and other struggles that microorganisms constantly face. As such, dynamic and complex communities are frequently formed. An example of this is the biofilm—a thick, highly structured aggregate of microorganisms that often forms in aqueous environments, particularly along surfaces or at water-air interfaces. Biofilms owe their success to the fact that,...

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MRSA: Farming up trouble

  MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has distressed hospitals for more than forty years and also has been infecting individuals outside of healthcare settings since 1995. MRSA is responsible for 94,000 infections and 18,000 deaths every year in the United States. Because MRSA initially appeared on a US farm, many scientists, such as epidemiologist Tara Smith, have dedicated their research in determining whether farms’ use of antibiotics is contributing to the increa...

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Cycloviruses could be causing neurological infections

  According to this article, it seems that a group of viruses known for their circular genome found in a few severe cases in Vietnam and Malawi could be linked to neurological diseases such as brain inflammation. This group of viruses is referred to as cycloviruses. More studies would need to be done to prove the connection between the two. For the cases in Vietnam, vexed researchers kept coming up short with answers for patients with infected central nervous systems. After considerable di...

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Cure for Cancer May Lie in the Intestines

  According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 8 million people die every year from Cancer in the World. This number translates to about 15% of all deaths in the world annually. It’s no wonder researchers all across the globe are racing for a cure. Two of the primary treatments for Cancer are radiation therapy and chemotherapy (chemo). Unfortunately, although these treatments may kill Cancer, they oftentimes harm areas of the body that are healthy as well, which can be detrimental...

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Adenovirus capable of jumping from monkey to human discovered.

  Adenoviruses are a family of viruses that commonly infect human beings, causing anything from cold and flu-like symptoms to death depending on the particular virus and health of the infected individual. Viruses can only infect cells that have specific receptors on their outer membrane. These receptors are often very specific which is why viruses are usually limited to a particular species. However, a newly discovered adenovirus has been found to jump between primate species and humans. The adeno...

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Gut Microbes Can Split a Species

  This article introduces a new concept regarding speciation. Before, the main focus around speciation, the splitting of a species from one another, was primarily based on environmental influences. Seth Bordenstein and Robert Brucker began to investigate gut microbes of being the culprits behind the speciation of jewel wasps.

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Recent evidence from rover Curiosity suggests life may have existed on Mars years ago

  If you ask most people is microbes could survive on Mars, they would answer  "no".  Yet recent evidence from the rover Curiosity suggest that life (microbes) may have existed billions of years ago, when analysis of rock drillings showed traces of some of the most fundamental elements for life (sulfur, hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, etc), in addition to water covering the planet's surface. 

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The Constant Battle of the Common Cold

  Ever wonder why no matter how hard you try to stay healthy and get plenty of rest, you always seem to get a cold just as winter comes around. One factor of the common cold, recently discovered by Ellen Foxman of Yale University, may be out of your control; the weather. The article, Colder Viruses Thrive in Frosty Conditions, further explains how colder temperatures have been shown to be a reason for the flare up and spread of the common cold.

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Diet-Induced Alterations of Host Cholesterol Metabolism Are Likely To Affect the Gut Microbiota Composition in Hamsters.

  While it has been well established that the gastrointestinal microbiota plays a role in the regulation of host metabolism, little is known about the connections between the composition of the gut microbiota and its effect on host metabolic pathways and processes. This is a valuable area of research, as changes in the host gut flora have been linked to various health problems. This knowledge calls for a better understanding of the bacterial patterns and functions associated with and contributing...

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New Technology Allows Crops to Take Nitrogen from the Air!

  The University of Nottingham, located in England, has developed a new technology that would allow all of the crops in the world to take in nitrogen from the air instead of from fertilizers.  During nitrogen fixation, a plant processes nitrogen (which is taken up by the fertilizer and soil) and then converts it into ammonia, which is a form of nitrogen that the cell can utilize. With the conversion of ammonia, the cell adds glutamate, which then creates glutamine. This process is extensive a...

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